Chapter 1. Christians Are Born, Not Made
Betty was terribly excited. Her favorite group was having a concert. She had never been to a concert before, and she wanted to go. She went to a ticket sales office to buy her ticket.
There were three lines at the ticket office. The middle line looked like concertgoers, so she got in the line, asked for one ticket, and paid for it with her credit card. She was surprised at how inexpensive the ticket was.
On the way home she saw her friend. “Jane!” she cried. “I just got my ticket to the concert. Did you get yours?”
“I sure did,” Jane replied. “See you there.”
“I’m so excited!” Betty said, and went home to get dressed.
She put on her new outfit she had bought just for this concert. She looked great. Just right for a concert. She called several of her friends and talked about the concert.
At the concert hall, she stood in the line to enter. Taking her ticket out of her purse, she handed it to the man at the entrance.
He looked at the ticket. “I’m sorry, mam, but this ticket won’t work. You can’t go in.”
“What?” she exclaimed. “But I came to go to the concert. What do you mean, I can’t go in?”
“You’ve got the wrong ticket, mam. This ticket won’t work.”
Jane looked at the ticket. “What’s wrong with it? It’s a perfectly good ticket. I bought it today.”
“It’s a good ticket, mam. But it’s a movie ticket. This is a concert, and you need a concert ticket. Movie tickets don’t work at concerts. I’m sorry, but it’s too late now. All the concert tickets are sold out. You should have gotten a concert ticket.”
Betty left sorrowfully. Feeling very depressed, she went to see a movie. She already had the ticket.
True Christians and Imitations
Betty looked like a concertgoer, acted like a concertgoer, and talked like a concertgoer. But she didn’t get to go to the concert because she had a ticket to the wrong place.
There are people who look like Christians, act like Christians, and talk like Christians. But when they stand before Jesus to enter the kingdom of heaven, He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me…” (Matthew 7:21-23). They have the wrong ticket.
Betty didn’t read the fine print. If she had, she would have seen the statement, “Buy your tickets at the concert box office.” Betty didn’t read the instructions. She made an assumption, and she was wrong.
God has given us instructions on how to get into heaven. Those instructions are given in the Bible. There is a ticket that works, and there are tickets that don’t work. The ticket that works is free, and God went to a lot of trouble to give it to us. It is a costly ticket, but God paid for it. All the other tickets are costly, too. But we pay the price for them, and they don’t work anyway. Why not get the right ticket?
Betty did it her way and it didn’t work. She should have done it the concert people’s way. Since it was their program, they had the right to tell Betty how to get in. She didn’t pay attention to the people in charge.
If you want to go with God, it’s a good idea to pay attention to how He says to do it. He’s in charge, and He’s the one who knows the way.
It would have been strange if the concert promoters had not given the time, the date, and location of the concert, and had said nothing about how to get a ticket.
It would also be strange if God required something from us, and desired us to serve Him, and did not tell us how to do it. Happily, He did see that we have all the information we need to go to heaven and to serve Him. That information is given to us in the Bible. God used men who were obedient to Him to write down the information we need in the various letters and writings that today form the Bible.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
True Christians Are Born
There is a physical world, in which we live and which scientists study. When we enter the physical world, we do not fly there, or go through a door, or flip a switch. We are born into it.
There is also a spiritual world. God Himself is a spirit. Jesus told the woman at the well, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Humans are physical beings, but we each have our own personal spirit which is as much a part of us as our physical body.
Our personal spirit cannot relate to God in its present state. It must be changed, and God is the only one who can change it. When God changes our spirit, we transition into God’s kingdom. It is a spiritual birth. We are born into the kingdom of God.
Jesus referred to this event as being “born again” in his famous discussion with Nicodemus in John 3:3: “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus knew about physical birth. Jesus used this understanding to help him see what happens in the spiritual realm. This spiritual birth is called the new birth.
There are many things that happen all at the same time in the new birth: We believe God; we choose to submit to Him; He forgives our sin based on Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection; He makes a fundamental change in our personal spirit; we become a member of God’s family; He gives to us eternal life; He takes away the condemnation we were under because of sin; God’s Holy Spirit comes to live in us; we are given a new capacity to live a life that is pleasing to God. Because of the changes God makes in us, the new birth is sometimes called regeneration.
The new birth is a complex event. But we are accustomed to integrating complex things into everyday life. The computer, for example, represents a remarkable array of technology and skill. Fortunately, we don’t have to understand all that computer technology to use the computer. With just a little understanding, we can write letters and print them, and keep track of our personal finances.
But there is a benefit to knowing more. A computer buff can do many things with his computer that the novice can’t do. And he can do it faster and easier.
The new birth, though complex, is very simple for us to experience. After all, God designed it with us in mind. We don’t have to know all the complexities of what God does in the new birth in order to experience it.
But there is a benefit to knowing more. The new birth ushers us into a realm of living that is new and different. It has different objectives than our old realm of living. It is God-oriented rather than self-oriented. The more we learn of God and His ways, of ourselves and our ways, and the world we must live in, the better equipped we are to live in a manner that pleases God.
The simplicity of the new birth can be seen in the experience of it. If you have never experienced it, you can do so by telling God the following and believing it:
“I am sorry for all my sins, dear God, and with your help I will turn away from them. I ask you to forgive me and accept me into your family. I believe that your Son Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected. Help me to serve you from this day forward.”
This prayer, prayed sincerely, will result in God doing that remarkable job of renovation called the new birth. You may have a strong sense of God working in you when this occurs. Or you may not see or feel anything. God has done His work nonetheless. In time, you will see the signs of God’s presence in your life.
Imitation Christians Are Made
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6) This is a clear statement. Jesus, the Son of God, is the way to God the Father. In fact, He’s the only way.
Jesus also said, to the woman at the well, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) This gives an insight into the nature of knowing God and worshipping Him. It is a spiritual activity. The first step of that activity is the new birth.
True Christians are people who followed God’s instructions and got the right ticket to heaven. That’s the free ticket that God supplied, not a ticket they obtained that gains admission to some other event but not to heaven. True Christians went through Jesus Christ; true Christians experienced the new birth.
Imitation Christians are people who are trying to get to heaven some other way.
We humans are endlessly creative when it comes to finding other ways to heaven and to God than the way of Jesus Christ and the new birth. The only problem is, they don’t work.
The “Sincere Belief” Christian
Most of these new ways have to do with being good so that God will approve. And some people think that if you are sincere in your beliefs, you’ll get to heaven, even if your beliefs are wrong.
The “sincere belief” approach is found exclusively in this context of getting God’s approval. People who hold this point of view do not apply it to any other part of life. The reason is that it doesn’t work there.
“I sincerely believe that if I do not eat, I will stay healthy.” Oh? Try it for sixty days and see what happens.
“The recipe for this cake calls for flour and eggs, but I sincerely believe that if I use peanut butter and carrots, the cake will turn out the same.” Go ahead. But you eat the cake and I’ll buy one at the store.
If the sincere belief approach doesn’t work in other parts of life, why should it work in matters pertaining to God?
Sincere beliefs are fine, as long as the belief is in something that is true. But sincere beliefs in things false don’t work. As a path to God, the “sincere belief” path is an imitation of the real path.
If you want to get to heaven, why not read the instructions and do it God’s way? Heaven is, after all, His project. He’s the one who knows how to get there.
Betty was an imitation concertgoer. She looked like a concertgoer, acted like a concertgoer, and talked like a concertgoer. But when all was said and done, she was not a true concertgoer. She didn’t go to the concert because she had the wrong ticket.
We sympathize with Betty. She wanted badly to go to the concert. She looked forward to it. She bought clothes for it. She spent time getting ready for it. She talked about it. She spent money for it. Betty sincerely believed she was going to the concert. She believed her movie ticket would be accepted there. But she didn’t go. She believed sincerely in false information. And she did not read the instructions to get the right information. She thought her way would work.
Don’t be an imitation Christian. Your way won’t work. God’s way works.
The Good Works Christian
The other approach to heaven that people come up with could be called the “good works” approach. The reasoning goes like this. “If I’m good, God will accept me. So I’ll live a decent life, and not do anything real bad, and everything will be all right. I will live by my moral principles, the ones I think are important. At any rate, I can certainly live as good a life as those other Christians I see, many of whom are hypocrites.”
This is the most common type of imitation Christian. The interesting thing is that it makes so much sense to the person who hasn’t read God’s instructions. Our natural tendency is to think that the objective of Christianity is to live a good life. If that’s all there is to it, I can do that on my own. And if the goal is to live a good life, and I accomplish it on my own, then God must accept me. So I don’t have to be encumbered with all the trappings of Christianity such as going to church. Furthermore, I know that I live a better life than John Q. Christian, who claims to be a “born-again Christian.”
The good works imitation Christian’s natural reasoning makes perfect sense to him. It has the added benefit that he can pretty much live as he normally would, by the convictions he has come to on his own, and he will end up in the same place as the true Christian. Such a deal!
The only problem is, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because it doesn’t follow God’s way. And it falsely assumes that God’s only objective is for us to live a morally upright life, and ignores his desire to have a personal relationship with his children.
The Cultural Christian
A variation on the good works imitation Christian is what we might call the cultural Christian. These are people who have been raised in a Christian environment, probably involving a lifetime of going to church, but who have never experienced Jesus Christ and the new birth.
They know a lot about Him, and are well versed in the Bible. They look like Christians, talk like Christians, and act like Christians. They live a morally upright life.
But they rely on these things to gain God’s approval, rather than submitting to what God wants them to do. He wants them to go through the new birth.
Don’t Be An Imitation!
Churches contain many cultural Christians. Unfortunately, when the true Christians look around in heaven, they won’t see any cultural Christians there. They won’t see any good works Christians, or sincere belief Christians, or any other kind of imitation Christian. The only people in heaven will be those who have experienced the new birth. To the non-Christian and the imitation Christian this seems narrow and exclusive. They are right. Jesus said “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” (Matthew 7:14)
Imitation Christians don’t allow themselves to be spiritually born by a work of God. Imitation Christians create their own Christianity.
True Christians are born, not made.
If you and I had created the universe, made men and women for some purpose, and set up heaven, we would have the right to make the rules. However, it is God who did all that, and He is the one who makes the rules. You and I have the choice of submitting to God’s way or not. But we can’t change His rules. We have to do it His way.
Don’t be an imitation Christian. Your way won’t work. God’s way works.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Chapter 2. Finding God
God is just an impersonal force. He set the creation in place and withdrew from it. He has no specific interest in us personally, so we can live the way we choose. There are religious fanatics who spend their lives trying to please God, but he doesn’t care so they are wasting their time. Prayer is OK for those who are weak, because it can be psychologically good for them; but the only thing that changes is their own state of mind.
Probably not, because that description of God is TOTALLY FALSE!
“Those who think that way don’t understand who God really is.”
If you work for somebody, it’s a good idea to get to know that person.
Is he dependable? Can he be trusted? Will the paycheck be there on payday? You want to have a good feeling about these things before you commit time and energy to an employer.
If you are going to enter a long term relationship with God, and entrust your life to Him, then it’s also a good idea to know something about Him. Is He able to do what He says? Can you depend on Him? Can you trust Him? What is He like?
I never knew my father in my younger days. He had joined the army and left for the war when I was about three years old, and never returned. Mother and I were close, but for some strange reason of her own she spoke of him little, preferring to keep her memories private.
Mother died when I was twelve. I loved her, and I missed her terribly. But I was consoled in the fact that I knew her, that her life was not a mystery that had been withheld from me. With my father it was different, and I assumed, at a tender age, that I would never know him.
I thought about him often. His absence from my life made me feel incomplete, unfulfilled. I wondered what he was like, and why he never returned. I wondered if he loved me.
In moments of despair I even doubted his existence. Maybe there really wasn’t a person who was my father. Maybe that’s why mother never talked about him. After all, I had never seen him, had no memory of him, no communication with him.
Gratefully, those moments didn’t last. Even in my childish thinking, I knew that I must have had a father. If my father didn’t exist, then how could I exist? If in depression I had doubts, when it lifted I would reaffirm more strongly than ever my conviction that he was real, and not a product of my imagination.
I wanted so badly to know my father. Always a practical child, I resisted the temptation to indulge in flights of fancy about him. I wanted to know who he really was, and I latched on to everything I could that connected me with him.
We were displaced from our home in those early war years. The few artifacts from my father’s life were left behind. But there was one thing I could not leave, which I secreted between the pages of a thin book that I treasured and kept with me at all times. It was a pen and ink drawing of an aging tree that had been in our back yard forever, it seemed to me. A myriad of geometric designs – circles of various sizes, triangles, squares, elliptical shapes, and meticulously crafted irregular figures – were carefully interwoven so that the eye extracted not merely the outline of that lovely tree, but its full glory.
I marveled at the drawing, but it was not so much the art that fascinated me as it was the heightened sense I had of knowing my father. I knew he must be keenly intelligent to produce such a work. In my mind’s eye I could see him sitting down at the desk with pen and paper, and looking off in the distance until the picture of the tree formed in his imagination, and then putting the pen to the paper with great intensity and purpose for hours until there was no more to be done.
But perhaps my greatest satisfaction came from the realization that my father must, in some important ways, be like me. If he were here, we could talk, and laugh, and sing. I had a love for music, and reading. Did he have the same love? If not, he must have another which I could share with him. Perhaps his art was his passion. I imagined us walking on a hillside, holding hands, and probing the depths of each other’s mind and heart. ‘Oh, do you like music, too? Who are your favorite composers?’ he might say. And I would name Beethoven, and Chopin, and a few of the great ones I was familiar with.
I realized that I was not just a miniature version of my father. We were probably different in many ways. But I knew intuitively, without having the ability to put it into words at that age, that if my father were here our hearts and minds could connect, and we could choose the course our lives would follow.
These pieces of the puzzle of who my father was, I figured out on my own. But they were not enough to fully satisfy me. It wasn’t the same as really knowing him, and I would never know him unless he came back.
I had a loving aunt who took care of me after Mother died. She too had fled the war, but afterward settled in a small town and lived in a nice little house.
Then, when I was about fourteen, a wonderful thing happened.
There was a knock at the door, and I answered it. I could hardly believe my eyes. There he was, my father, with a twinkle in his eye and looking tall and splendid in his uniform. I knew who he was from the moment I saw him. ‘Karen?’ he said questioningly, and when a smile of recognition crossed my face he scooped me up in his arms and we embraced for a very long time.
It is difficult to express the joy I felt during those next days. First we dealt with the hard questions. Why hadn’t he come home? Where had he been all those years? What happened to him? And he wanted to know about me.
He was taken prisoner early in his tour, and remained so for several years. Then, with the turmoil and uprooting of families caused by the war, he lost track of us. He wrote letters and searched, and finally found out where my aunt and I lived. (Mother, it seems, had been unable to bear the pain of his being a prisoner, and so was reluctant to share her feelings with me. It is a loss that I regret to this day.)
We talked incessantly, with that exuberance that accompanies discovery. I asked him a thousand questions, and he told me things about himself I could never have known from my childish speculations. Yes, he had a love for music, and for literature. He had a talent for art, and spent his spare time sketching landscapes and geometric designs. His desire was to be a teacher, but he had not been financially able to prepare for it and had remained in the army.
I learned the foods he liked, the things that caused him laughter, the pain of his life. I saw the way he folded his clothes, and watched with fascination as he shaved. It seemed to me that nothing about him escaped my attention, and I felt I learned to know him as much from my daily walk with him as from what he told me.
I realize now, in the clearer light of maturity, that I had only scratched the surface in knowing my father. There were depths that I could never reach, nor did I need to. The knowledge I gained of him and the relationship we experienced were all that I could absorb, and carried me, along with the memories of my mother, through those difficult years.
My father died when I was a young woman. It was a great loss for me. And yet at his passing, I had a deep sense of completion, of fulfillment, of satisfaction. I had known my father, and that was enough.”
Suppose God was never mentioned in your childhood. As you grow older, you begin to wonder if there is a God, and what He is like. How do you find out about God?
Karen was faced with the same question about her father. At first she had no information about him. So she went through a reasoning process, which was all that she could do at the time, and came up with some basic conclusions about her father that were convincing to her.
Who Caused All This?
Karen’s first conclusion was that her father must exist. “Even in my childish thinking, I knew that I must have a father. If my father didn’t exist, then how could I?”
She knew that she didn’t just happen; her life was caused by something, and a father was at least part of that cause.
A similar case can be made about God. Common sense tells us that everything is caused by something. The sun causes the warmth of the day. The light in the lamp is caused by electricity surging through it. The bird nest in the tree is there because a bird built it.
If everything has a cause, there must be some original cause, or first cause, behind this universe. That cause could only be a God who is extremely powerful. Since God is the first cause, He Himself was not caused by anything and therefore is self-existent and eternal.
Philosophers and theologians for ages have come up with arguments to prove the existence nature of God based on reason alone. The argument that God is the first cause is one of them. The names they have given to these arguments are almost as long as the arguments themselves! The first cause argument, for example, is called the cosmological argument because it has to do with the nature of the universe or cosmos.
If that’s all we know about God, however, – that He is real, powerful, self-existent, eternal, and the cause of all things – it’s still pretty unsatisfying. He could well be merely the impersonal force that set the universe in motion and then just stands back watching it go.
Karen didn’t know it, but she was using a part of the cosmological argument to prove her father’s existence to herself. She knew intuitively that she must have a cause, which she identified as her father. And she was not satisfied with the result. She wanted to know more. She wanted to actually know her father, not just know some things about him.
“Could I Meet The Designer, Please?”
Karen then went another step in her thinking. She looked at the things her father had done and made some further conclusions about him. The drawing of the tree, formed by a host of geometric and irregular figures, was not something that could have come into existence by mere chance. All those shapes could never arrange themselves to form a tree. That was done deliberately and purposefully, so its beauty could be enjoyed. She recognized that there was intelligence and purpose behind that design, and it caused Karen to understand a little more about her father.
Suppose you were lost in the jungle, with no one else around. You walk for days, always surrounded with trees and plants and mosquitoes. Suddenly you happen upon a clearing, and in the midst of it is a garden, with rows of tomatoes and rows of beans, straight as an arrow. Would you conclude that this is more jungle?
There is little doubt that you would recognize the handiwork of another human, someone who intelligently and purposefully selected specific vegetables to plant, arranged them in a well-defined order, and tended them as they grew. This is a common sense conclusion, and consistent with all human experience.
It is not rocket science.
When we look at nature, we see the obvious evidence of design. The examples are endless – the marvelous complexity of the human body, the stars and planets, the way all things work together. Some may believe that all this happened by chance, but for most of us it shows the unmistakable stamp of intelligent design. And if it was designed, there must have been a designer. That designer could only be God.
Things are always designed with a purpose in mind. An engineer who designs a bridge does so for a specific purpose: to enable a certain weight and quantity of vehicles to move safely across a river within a certain period of time. If design indicates the existence of a designer, it also indicates that the designer is intelligent and purposeful. He designs for a reason, with an objective in mind.
Karen, seeing the work of art her father had produced, recognized that he was intelligent and purposeful. It was a conclusion she made in a reasonable way, and it gave her greater insight into who her father was.
This argument for God – his existence, intelligence, and purposefulness – is known as the teleological argument because it has to do with ends or purposes. It is a line of reasoning that adds a little bit to the understanding of God that we obtained from the cosmological argument. Yet it, too, leaves us unsatisfied in our search for God, because it doesn’t tell us enough about God to know if He requires anything of us.
Karen finally concludes that if her father was the source, at least in part, of her own existence, then he must be like her in some important ways. If she could love music, then he must have the capability to love music. If she could choose her life direction, then he must be able to make similar choices. If they were together, they could relate on the basis of these similarities.
There is an argument for God which runs along similar lines. It is called the anthropological argument, or moral argument, because it begins with qualities of man and reasons that these qualities could only originate in a God with closely related qualities.
Your conscience that tells you did something wrong could not have arisen out of a vacuum. It indicates your source in a God who has a moral nature, who has some standard of right and wrong. Your intelligence points to His intelligence, your will to His will, your emotional nature to His.
We do not reason that since we have hands, for example, God must have hands. There is no logical necessity that God, who is the original source of physical things, should have those same qualities. Even engineers build things which are not like themselves. But the human qualities of intelligence, emotions, will, and conscience occupy a unique place in the created universe, and their very existence demands an adequate explanation. Blind forces do not create conscience. Only a God who has a moral nature and from whom comes a moral law is an adequate cause of human conscience.
We have now summarized some of the ways that man has tried to prove the existence of God from his own reasoning ability alone. There is nothing wrong with doing this. Psalm 19:1-6 supports both the first cause argument and the argument from design. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands…” (Ps. 19:1) This says we should be able to recognize the “glory of God” when we see the universe He has made. Nature reveals God, or makes God known to us. We use the term natural revelation to describe this way of finding out about God.
Such knowledge of God is limited. Nature and reason tell us that God exists, and that He is powerful, intelligent, and purposeful. They also point to His moral nature. But that leaves us with very little knowledge of what God is like. We know nothing about His involvement in the universe, and particularly in the lives of people. And we have no idea whether we are supposed to do anything to please Him, or if He has imposed any requirements on us.
It would be nice to know.
Searching Until God Finds Us!
Processes. She was convinced that he was real, was intelligent and purposeful, and was somewhat like her. But she ran into a wall at that point. And there was no way she could go farther in knowing him unless he somehow made himself known. He had to reveal himself to her in some way.
God, too, has revealed Himself to us in some special ways. As a result, we are able to discover who God really is, what He is like, what His purposes are, and what He wants from us.
First, God has made Himself known to certain individuals throughout history. God made certain promises to Abram about his decendents and their future. He gave us the ten commandments through Moses. He communicated things to various old testament prophets concerning current events of the day as well as events of the future. And He revealed Himself to the new testament apostles. Some of what He has made known has been written down and preserved for us.
Second, God has made Himself known through His son Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” Jesus, through His teachings and through His life, gave us understanding of God and His nature in a fuller way than ever before revealed. Hebrews 1:3 goes on to say that “…He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…”
Third, God has made Himself known through the writings of the scriptures which we call the Bible. Various people including Moses, the old testament prophets, Paul, Peter, John, Luke, and others wrote histories, letters, and prophecies which were preserved to this day for our benefit. The Bible consists of those writings which the Christian church has recognized as inspired writings and we refer to them as the Word of God. There were also many other writings of those periods which were not inspired by God but may give us additional information about the times.
Finally, the Holy Spirit teaches us about God. Jesus said, “…He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it unto you.” (John 16:15) The Holy Spirit illuminates to us the truths we read in the Bible, and helps us understand things that are spiritual in nature. He also gives us understanding of God’s nature by performing His ministries within us. For example, when the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, brings comfort to us, we gain a knowledge of what God’s comfort really is. Finally, the Spirit teaches us through the ministry of certain gifts of the Spirit in the church, and occasionally through visions and dreams.
One of God’s great revelations about Himself is that He is not just an impersonal power; He is a personal being. He possesses intelligence, Karen was able to figure out a few things about her father on her own, by her own thought emotions, and will. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), these are the same characteristics that are present in you and me. The difference is that God possesses them in perfection, and in us they are limited and flawed. But because we have these characteristics in common with God, we are able to relate to God in a way similar to the way we relate to other people. We can love God and He can love us. He can set down His principles for life and we can obey them. When He tells us about Himself and His ways, we can understand. If we were not made in the image of God, if He was totally different in kind from us, we could never understand Him and relate to Him in the personal way that is our privilege now.
Getting to know God is like getting to know another person; it is a process. We don’t get to know Him well all at once. Through the various ways He has revealed Himself to us, we learn how to go about knowing Him. As we do so, we learn that, unlike the people we know, God is completely trustworthy, completely dependable, completely just. He is someone we can entrust our lives, our families, and our future to.
Karen’s great joy was in knowing her father after he revealed himself to her. She found out that he was still alive. He was a real person with a personality that she could relate to. There were things he liked, things that were important to him, things that gave him pleasure and things that gave him pain.
The Christian’s great joy is in knowing God. He has revealed Himself to us, not only in propositional statements about His nature but in the intimacy of a personal relationship we can have with Him. He did not set us adrift in the sea of His creation and then withdraw to see if we could figure out what was going on. He had a program in mind for us, and He told us about it. Thus we can know about Him because of what He has revealed, and we can know Him through the new birth. We can experience God’s power and presence in our lives, and have hope for the future.